Upstart Dropbox forges ahead while Microsoft diddles

Windows Live Mesh won't sync with iPhone 7, but Dropbox syncs with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android -- and BlackBerry

It now appears Microsoft will officially unveil Windows Phone 7 at an open house in New York on Oct. 11. While we don't know exactly when the latest Windows Phone 7 hardware will be available in the United States, one thing we do know for sure: Microsoft's latest phone will hit the streets without sync software. Microsoft can't get its syncronizing software, Windows Live Mesh, to sync with its own phones.

While Microsoft's still diddling with syncing, upstart competitor Dropbox forges ahead. In addition to syncing across all recent versions of Windows, Linux (Ubuntu 7.10+, Fedora 9+), and Mac systems, Dropbox also syncs with iPhone and iPad (it's No. 1 on the productivity list at the Apple App Store), Android, and now the BlackBerry.

[ For an earlier take on Dropbox's head start, see "Dropbox bridges gaps in Microsoft's mobile sync" | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

Dropbox lets you designate a folder on your computer or phone as a synchronized folder. You set up a similar synchronized folder on other computers or phones. When you add a file to the folder, delete or modify it, the changes are rippled to the other devices' folders, as soon as those devices connect to the Internet. It happens in minutes or less. You can also get to the synchronized folder's contents through a Web interface. And you can specify a folder as "Public," thus allowing anyone to get into the folder using either Dropbox or the Web.

The first 2GB of online storage is free. If that isn't enough, you can pay $99 to upgrade to 50GB for a year, or $199 for 100 GB.

To download the BlackBerry version of Dropbox, go to the Dropbox Anywhere site. If you already use Dropbox, you should check for updates.

At the App Store, the new iPhone/iPad version 1.3 includes offline caching, so you don't need to re-download files you've already viewed; support for big HD video and high-res photo files; full-screen landscape viewing on iPad; and background uploading and downloading. Dropbox doesn't yet integrate with the built-in Photos and iPod libraries.

In the Android App Market, the new Dropbox 1.1 program puts an entry on the "Share" menu, letting you send a file via Dropbox from any application that lets you send out files. There's a new progress bar (thanks, I needed that), and support for syncing multiple files simultaneously (think photo gallery). And a new Shortcut icon on the home screen lets you create links straight to Dropbox folders.

The company claims to have more than 2 million mobile customers, with more than 100 partner apps that interact directly with Dropbox.

This article, "Upstart Dropbox forges ahead while Microsoft diddles," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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